ACHD (which builds and maintains roads in these parts) is proposing new bike lanes on several major downtown roads, at the expense of motor vehicle lanes. They are asking the general public to weigh in.
I wasn't able to attend their Open House, but I submitted the following comments via email:
I'm a 29-year veteran transportation cyclist here in Boise...
bicycle has been my primary year-round mode of local transportation since 1986.
And I've worked downtown, and bike-commuted via downtown streets, for the last
19+ years. So, I've got a little experience.
I'm somewhat ambivalent
about your proposal to add bike lanes to several downtown roads.
one (personal/selfish) hand, I'm rarely uncomfortable using the existing
infrastructure. There are several north-south streets with bike lanes, as well
as Bannock and Grove. I can navigate pretty close to 'most any destination
without too much sharing-of-lanes-with-cars. And, I share lanes with cars
enough that I'm not uncomfortable with that, either, at 20mph speeds in
On the other hand, it's a FACT that a lot of people would
ride bikes more, as transportation, if it weren't for the "fear factor."
Safe or not, sharing a lane with cars is PERCEIVED as being unsafe by people who
don't do it regularly. And more people on bikes is good for the community!
If 50 more people are riding bikes downtown, probably at least 30 cars are NOT
on the roads that day! They're saving money that they can spend at downtown
merchants. They are NOT spewing pollution into our inverted atmosphere. And
the city "happiness quotient" goes up! THAT has to be worth something,
I know I'd be much more inclined to bring my 7-year-old
granddaughter downtown on the bikes, if I was confident we could use bike lanes
for the duration.
So, in balance I suppose I'm in favor of more bike
lanes downtown, and believe it would be the right thing to do.
and more people straddle bikes, I sure wish there were some organized
educational effort. Mostly it's free-for-all. I was dismayed this morning at the number of cyclists
I saw riding nonchalantly along (downtown) roads, against traffic! This is the
time of year when the "amateurs" start dusting off their bikes after a long
winter's nap, and showing up on the roads. But unless they crash it's highly
unlikely they'll be officially corrected in any way, and I've grown weary of
trying to be the teacher.
Thanks for the opportunity to comment.